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I think that is the hottest man alive up there. FYI that's the prince.

I couldn't see him very well from a distance, but I could tell he had short, almost black, brown hair and a muscular figure.

He was utterly gorgeous. I could see why over half the female population was so infatuated. I shook my head, clearing my thoughts. 

No, I will not be acting like a little girl, dreaming of marrying a fairy tale Prince. I refuse. I turned back to my partner, and smiled.

"I don't think I formally introduced myself. I'm Rebecca White, it's nice to meet you," I curtsied.

The handsome man smiled back, and bowed.

"I'm duke Julius Whitmore. Maybe we could talk more after the formalities of meeting the prince?" He wondered.

I nodded, agreeing before going to find my mother.

"There you are! Come now, we are to be introduced to the prince," she huffed, dragging me with her to the side of the dance floor, where many others were waiting their name to be called.

And so it went. The man we met at the front door would call out the family's name, they would step forward and bow, before walking back in line.

The girls would go up to meet him tensely. I would guess they were hoping the prince would ask to dance with them, but it did not happen.

The prince took no interest in any of the beautiful girls here tonight. It took a fair amount of time before our name was called, considering it was in alphabetical order, and White is one of the last letters.

I shifted uncomfortably on my feet. My mother shot me an annoyed look, like I was at fault for the long wait. Once again, I stifled my eye roll.

"The White family: Ellen White, and Rebecca White," the short man called.

I straightened my shoulders and tilted my chin up, then walked forward. I would rather not leave a bad impression of myself with the next king of Laban.

At a closer view, I saw that he was indeed tall, and had a little stubble growing. He was in a gorgeous, fitted black tux with a blood red tie. He had full lips and long eyelashes that framed beautiful, light blue eyes.

I smiled warmly at him, which seemed to catch him off guard. My mother and I bowed, but he kept his eyes on me. As we turned to go back to our original spots in the crowd, we were stopped.

"Wait," the prince demanded.

His voice was thick, and naturally husky. It was deep, but not too deep. It sent shivers down my spine. My mother and I turned back, clearly surprised that we were stopped.

Oh god, what did I do? Did I not bow low enough? Or was it because I made eye contact? What an idiot I am! Hopefully, he's not too mad.

"You, girl. Rebecca, was it?" He asked, looking directly at me.

"Yes, your majesty," I answered softly.

He looked away for a moment, and it seemed as thought the audience was stiff with tension. I tried not to fidget with so many eyes on us. Then he looked back to me, fiercely.

"May I have a dance?" He wondered.

I felt my eyes go wide.
What? He has to be talking to someone else. I noticed he was still waiting on an answer, so I hurriedly cleared my throat and agreed.

He smiled slightly, amused, before bowing. I curtsied, and took his hand when he extended it. I was in shock. Impossible, I must be dreaming. That's the only logical explanation.

I must have read one of my mother's romantic novels, and fell asleep.

"So you are daughter of the high Dutch? You're father is a very intelligent man. How is he?" The prince asked as the music started.

I followed his league as I answered.

"He is well, thank you. He sends his regards, and congratulates you on turning 21," I reply, feeling a bit nervous.

"Tell me, Rebecca, how old are you?"

"19, your highness."

"No formalities, when it's just you and I, call me Maddox," he said, giving me a mischievous smirk.

I blushed lightly, then smiled.

"Of course."

We talked, and I was surprised at how he made it easy for me to be myself. Even after the song ended, we were able to sneak off to the palace's gardens.

The flowers and fruit trees were beautiful, bathed in moonlight. Maddox reached up and pulled a pear of a tree, then took a bite and handed it to me. I tried not to be obvious when I bit the spot his lips had been.

"So, what are something's you enjoy?" He asked, watching closely as I ate my pear.

I swallowed.

"I find myself completely enraptured in reading. I also enjoy music and painting," I answer, grinning.

"What about yourself?" I asked.

"I do adore poetry. I also like music among other things. I'm quite busy now, though. I shall be king soon, so I don't have much time for fun and games," he admitted, a bit put out about the last part.

It was a sensation much like waking from a dream, and realizing your fairytale was all just a fantasy.

"Oh, I'm sorry," I say, at a loss for words.

He nods.

"It is not your fault, of course," he reminded.

I just look at the ground, my half eaten pair forgotten.

I can't be acting like this to a prince! I can't be flirting or friendly! I do not wish for the chance of a life like that. I thought in my mind.

"Rebecca, I really do like you. I would like you to join me at the castle. You would stay for as long as I needed you, and if things turn out well, then you might rule by my side," Maddox stated, calmly.

I paled deeply. I think I need to explain things to you. In Laban, we have different customs. Basically, the king invites women to the castle in hopes she may be queen.

This woman will stay and the pair will get to know each other. If the king likes her, they will wed. The woman has no say. She has to go. She has to participate. She can not say no.

"Prince, that it a generous offer," I start.

"Maddox," he corrects.

"Yes, Maddox. You see, I do not think your plan is so great. I still have much studying to do! I simply can't leave my house at this time. My family needs me," I try to convince him.

His eyes turn cold, and I flinch back.

"Listen here, Rebecca. I am very tolerant. But one thing I have no patience for is disobedience. You will come to the castle, and you will do as I say," he says darkly.

I gaped as he walks away. What a pompous jerk! What did I ever see in that forceful, rude man? I felt tears cloud my eyes. Fine. He wanted me to come to the castle, I'd go to the castle.

But if he thinks I'll be some sweet, obedient, starry-eyed girl, he thought wrong. I locked myself up for my mother.

I won't do it for some cocky prince who can't take no for an answer.

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